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Emergency Pet Shelter at Tulsa Fairgrounds Housing Around 150 Animals

Matt Trotter

As of Tuesday morning, an emergency animal shelter for pets of Tulsa-area flood evacuees had taken in 94 dogs, 47 cats, three birds, three rabbits, a hamster — and even a goat named Buddy.

Humane Society of Tulsa is running the shelter at the Tulsa Fairgrounds, and Executive Director Ashley Villines said besides the logistics, a big challenge is volunteers' compassion fatigue for people separated from their pets after evacuating their homes to escape flooding.

"These people probably don’t know what they’re going to be doing after this, and they’re leaving their animals in our hands and hoping that we’ll take good care of them," Villines said. "We’re just reassuring them that they are being well taken care of. We have had some people come in and visit their animals. We welcome them to come and visit."

The plan was for the shelter to stay open through Thursday, but they’re getting daily flood situation updates from Tulsa Animal Welfare.

"That’s basically where we’re at, is day by day — really, kind of hour by hour — finding out what the Corps of Engineers is doing and what’s going to happen, and then we’re planning as we go," Villines said.

A veterinarian makes the rounds every day to check up on all their guests.

"You know, this is a very stressful thing for the animals as well, especially those guys who have been here since day one. They’ve been here for awhile now, going on a week. So, they’re probably pretty stressed not knowing where their owners went and what’s going on, but everybody seems to be doing pretty good for the most part," Villines said.

There’s room for more pets if flooding worsens. Villines is not soliciting volunteers, because the shelter can only use volunteers certified by the Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps.

Cat, rabbit and bird food is needed, along with cat litter and cash donations.